HAVANA, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel met his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolas Maduro, on Saturday in his first public event after being elected president.
Maduro, who arrived in Havana on Friday night, received military honors at the Palace of the Revolution, with the two presidents then meeting in private.
Maduro was accompanied by Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza, vice-president for social development and Minister of Education Elias Jaua, as well as Oil and Energy Minister Manuel Quevedo.
Speaking to the press, the Venezuelan president said he had come to Cuba to "renew hope and shared dreams" after Diaz-Canel's election last Thursday.
"We must aim for the future, especially by looking 10 years ahead and laying out what can be done, what is necessary for our peoples. We come to lay deep foundations of a political, spiritual, moral union and above all of an economic union," he said.
Maduro also indicated that he wanted to talk with the new Cuban president not only about the bilateral relationship, but also about the current situation of Latin America and the Caribbean.
"Our true independence in this century is going to rest on the possibility of us building a powerful economic union. That is what we are going to aim for with President Miguel Diaz-Canel," he said.
In addition, he assured that Raul Castro, who remains the first secretary of the Central Committee of the ruling Communist Party of Cuba, will "lead the vanguard, directing the battle."
Prior to meeting Diaz-Canel, Maduro paid tribute to the island's national hero Jose Marti, laying a flower wreath in the capital's Revolution Square.
This is Diaz-Canel's first public event after being elected president with 99.83 percent of the votes cast by the 604 deputies of the National Assembly.
In his speech, the new president said Cuba's foreign policy would remain the same and the new government would not make "concessions" against Cuba's sovereignty, nor accept any foreign conditions, especially from Washington.
On Monday, Bolivian President Evo Morales is set to arrive in Havana to personally congratulate Diaz-Canel and discuss issues of mutual interest.